Facebook data for over 500M users reportedly leaks online

The data set, found on a hacker website, appears to be years old.

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Facebook user data, including user names and phone numbers, has appeared on a hacker website.

Angela Lang/CNET

Personal information on hundreds of millions of Facebook users, including names, birth dates and phone numbers, has reportedly been posted to a website for hackers.

The data set contains information on 533 million users from 106 countries, according to Business Insider, which first reported on its availability. The data, which appears to be years old, was first discovered making the rounds in hacker circles in January by Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson tweeted that the data was from an old leak.

"This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019," Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said. "We found and fixed this issue in August 2019."

Despite its age, the data set could provide valuable information to identity thieves and other scammers.

"Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing," Gal said in a tweet Saturday.

The social networking giant has grappled with privacy and security mishaps over the years. In 2019, a security researcher discovered a trove of data anyone could access online that contained more than 267 million Facebook users' phone numbers, names and user IDs.

Earlier in 2019, security researchers found more than 540 million Facebook user records, including comments and likes, in a public database on Amazon's cloud servers. Later that year, TechCrunch reported on a server that contained several databases filled with more than 419 million Facebook records from users in the US, UK and Vietnam.

See also: How to avoid a spear-phishing attack. 4 tips to keep you safe from timeless scams